Mafia Wars, one of the most popular games on Facebook with nearly 26 million players, is about to become a bit more animal-friendly.

PETA recently set their sights on Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga Game Network, urging him to cancel plans to allow players to use dogs and other animals for fighting. To say Pincus' move was controversial is an understatement; especially in light of NFL star quarterback Michael Vick's high-profile dog fighting conviction several years ago.

"Depicting 'man's best friend' as a fighting machine can encourage the wrong type of people — those with no heart and no understanding of a dog's needs — to treat these wonderful animals as inanimate objects," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "If Mark Pincus — who named his company after his own beloved dog, Zinga — can't portray dogs as loyal and loving members of the family, we'd rather he left them out of the game altogether."

Turns out Pincus actually listened.

The creator late last week agreed to remove pit bulls from the game after receiving PETA's letter. In return, the animal rights org expressed their thanks by sending him a box of vegan chocolates.

Don't you just love Mafia-related happy endings?

Related on MNN: Our tech blogger reviews Facebook's popular Farmville game.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

PETA succeeds in taking bark out of Mafia Wars
Animal rights organization urged game designer to drop portrayal of dogs as violent weapons.